Art For The Soul: Unlonely Lonely Cactus

“Bloom where you are planted.”
“Whenever flowers bloomed in bending branches of desert.. it showed how heavier smiles could reside in the thorns that pierces the heart…”
Shreya Rajak
“Keep bubbling over with abundant joy, peace and love. You may be the only well-watered oasis for someone going through a desert in their lives.”
Caroline Naoroji
“Lonely souls are in an eternal desert.”
“They make a desert and call it peace.”
“There is a life in desert. There are stairs in heaven. Silence may feel endless in the stretched blue skies and yellow sands. But greenery exist at its horizons…”
“True love can sometimes be like a desert flower. Surviving under the toughest conditions.”
Lamar Cole
“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”
Henri Matisse


I already had thoughts about making this cactus terrarium artwork before I went on my Penang trip on my birthday week between 18-22 November last year. I already got all the materials I would need ready. So when I returned from Penang, the first thing I did was to make this artwork.

This artwork is an attempt to give an optimistic view about loneliness. It’s about making a sad life story “un-sad”, making a lonely person “un-lonely”. This was actually deeply inspired by a vision of me which a peer shared with me during one of the several healing sessions that took place on my 3-day Theta Healing Basic DNA course. Read this post about my 1-to-1 healing session with the teacher prior to taking the course.

I had forgotten which topic that particular healing which my peer performed on me was focusing on, but what she shared with me was very true and resonated a lot with me.

Here’s the vision she saw of me:

I was trying to climb a mountain. I tripped and fell a few times on my way up. There were many people at the sides laughing and sneering at me. I was depressed and desperately trying to find a place to hide. Finally, I retreated to a desert and found an oasis where I could live comfortably and in peace.

She definitely wasn’t aware about the things I was actually going through at the moment, except that I told her I was unhappy with my job at Singtel and felt like I didn’t belong there. But the vision she had of me starkly reflected the truth about my lonely, arduous fight for my love with Taenggu. It has always felt like that for me – me constantly trying to run away from those negative voices and sensitivity towards the coldness/meanness I felt from the people around me and finding a safe, quiet place where I could feel calm and peaceful finally.

While desert is a perfect place free from noise and human politics, it is a lonely place. A few months later, I saw Baekhyun, a member of EXO, post this following instastory (before I unfollowed him) and I was reminded of that vision of myself in a desert again.

Baekhyun’s instastory of a lone tree which grows in the middle of a desert.

If given a choice though, I wished this tree didn’t have to fight and survive on its own, but could be surrounded and accompanied by lots of love and support that it could get to gain strength and not be lonely anymore. Therefore, I was motivated to make this artwork.

Making use of some leftover brown soft clay from #57 MONTHSARY: KOPI SIEW DAI 半烧 GIRL artwork, I put a small porcelain cactus, representing myself, in a land of desert.

Then I surrounded my cactus with 10 pink roses who thrive strongly despite the harsh conditions of a desert. The lonely cactus in the desert is no longer lonely now.

To all the lonely people out there,

Hope this artwork can give you strength and comfort too! There will always be someone, visible or not, there to walk down this difficult road with you like those desert flowers around the cactus.


Lots of love,
Celeste Koh

Listen to: “Lonely” by Jonghyun (feat. Taeyeon)

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